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Friday, June 17, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 13 - The Music Awards - Part 1

When we last left off with Jem Reviewed, the Holograms won a fashion contest thanks to Shana's designs and a little help from Synergy.  Let's see what happens this week.

Why, it's time for another two-parter episode.  Like we didn't have enough of those!  This is Episode 13:  The Music Awards - Part 1.

The setting is one of the many bedrooms inside of Starlight Mansion.  And inside the bedroom are three of the Starlight Girls.  Playing with the Jem doll - and a nice tie in with merchandising courtesy of Hasbro - is Ba Nee.  Brushing Ba Nee's hair is a new girl we haven't met yet named Krissie.

And standing in front of the mirror annoying both Ba Nee and Krissie is another Starlight Girl named Deirdre.  And Deirdre is a huge fan of Jem.  In fact, with the posters plastered all over her bedroom wall, one might say she's obsessed.  Wouldn't it blow her mind to know that she's been living with Jem all this time?  But of course she'll never find out.  She has a hard enough time telling RIO!  But of course, Deirdre is determined to learn the guitar well enough to one day play on stage with Jem.  Too bad with the way she's playing, that won't happen until the year 2017...which back in 1986 was decades away!

Lindsey Pearce's show is on, and it's here that one of the plots is introduced - the one that this episode is named after.  There's an awards show celebrating music (I'm assuming that it's the American Music Awards, as the Grammys are usually held in February and this episode screened in September), and in the category of Best New Rock Group, Jem and the Holograms have been nominated for the award - which makes all the Starlight Girls shriek with glee.

But guess what?  The Misfits are also nominated in the same category.  And since Jerrica Benton took over Starlight Music and ousted the Misfits from the company, that very well could be the only award they get.  I'm also thinking that the episode might have aired out of order...I think it probably should have been sandwiched in between "Starbright: Rising Star" and "The World Hunger Shindig" for it to make sense...but that could have been an oversight.

At any rate, Pizzazz decides to take matters into her own hands and practically begs her father to buy her a record company.  Because when he bought that movie studio for her seven episodes ago, that worked out SO well!  But having learned nothing from that fiasco, Harvey Gabor does what Pizzazz wants, and makes some calls.  This isn't good.

But we've got no time to worry about that now.  School starts very soon, and Jerrica has taken all twelve Starlight Girls to Target to get the hottest fashions from 1986!  Time for a song to commemorate this occasion!

It's been said that this video is one of Christy Marx's least favourites, and I can see why.  It's a lot like the music video for "Something Is Missing In My Life".  There's nothing wrong with the song "She Makes An Impression".  If used properly, it could have packed a punch.  But somehow watching a group of junior high students and grade schoolers shopping for clothes that Punky Brewster would reject just makes this video kind of...meh.

Deirdre thinks she's hit the jackpot when she finds a dress that looks exactly like Jem's.  Oh yeah, like some junior high school will let you wear that around the hallways.  Jem's hemline isn't exactly long, you know.  But to Deirdre's frustration, Jerrica seems to be caught up in other things for her to notice Deirdre.  My guess is that her heart probably stopped when she saw the final bill.  Happens all the time when you're shopping for twelve.  And they haven't even gone to Staples yet for school supplies!

After the shopping excursion has ended, Jerrica goes back to work to make up for all the money she spent on Vuarnet T-shirts and rainbow coloured toe socks when her secretary Joanie alerts her to something going on across the street.  It doesn't take long for Jerrica to realize that Pizzazz's dream has come true.

Across the street in the blackest, darkest, tallest office building that you could imagine is "Misfits Music".  Oh, that's cold.  Opening up across the street from your competitor.  That's like opening up a Krispy Kreme donut shop in the same shopping plaza as Dunkin' Donuts!  With all of this happening, and the stress from the upcoming awards show, this is too much for Jerrica to handle.

Jerrica calls for Aja, Shana, and Kimber to meet in Synergy's room, but before they get there, Deirdre is trying to show Jerrica the cool new chords that she has learned.  Once again, Jerrica brushes her off, and this time, Deirdre is venting her frustrations to Krissie and Ba Nee.  She's quite upset...and honestly while I would say she has reason to be, this behaviour of putting the band over the girls is nothing new for Jerrica.  Unfortunately.

Once inside Synergy's room, the Holograms request Synergy's assistance in using special effects to try and get an edge on the Misfits at the Music Awards, and as shown by this screenshot, she definitely delivers.

But outside of Starlight Mansion, a limousine pulls up.  And inside the limo are the Misfits, Eric Raymond, and some weird looking dude with a creepy voice who simply goes by the name of Techrat.  But if Christy Marx had her way, Techrat would look even weirder.  In this edition of Jem Trivia, Christy's initial sketch of Techrat was supposed to be more androgynous.  Think either David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase or Boy George.

Well, Techrat - in addition to being very creepy - is also very handy with technology.  His latest invention is a little box that can reportedly take any electronic item within a certain area and make them go out of control.  The device would most certainly screw up Jem's appearance at the Music Awards, but Techrat has to test it first.

When he turns on the box outside of Starlight Mansion, everything goes haywire.  Lights flicker on and off, Deirdre's electric guitar starts making weird noises, and a blender explodes all over Starlight Girl Delaree...who I think might only have like two lines in the whole series.

Synergy also starts to go crazy, and the light show turns into deadly lasers that could divide the band into twenty-eight equal pieces!  Jerrica tries to get close enough to Synergy to unplug her, but those lasers are shooting at her very quickly and unpredictably for her to do anything about it.

Fortunately, luck - and Pizzazz's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" attitude strikes at the right time, and she tries to get control of Techrat's invention so she can play with it.  Techrat, who can't stand to be touched, is very aggravated by Pizzazz's forwardness, and in the scuffle, the invention gets smashed into a million pieces, stopping the craziness inside the mansion.

Once everything has calmed down, and Synergy explains that the outside interference caused her to go loco, Jerrica suspects the Misfits are responsible, which makes her resolve to beat them even stronger.

The rest of the Starlight Girls tell Jerrica and the others what happened, and Jerrica tells them not to worry, as it was just a freak electrical mishap.  But once again, she brushes Deirdre off, and Deirdre loudly complains about Jerrica in front of the whole group.  Surprisingly enough it is Ashley that acts as the voice of reason, and explains that Jerrica is very busy, and that she's doing her best.  But Deirdre doesn't believe Ashley, and remarks that Jem would never brush her aside like Jerrica does.

And where is Jem?  Well, she's on her way to a mysterious location with Rio, Video, and the rest of the Holograms.  What's so special about a house on a simple residential street?  Video explains that the Holograms have to meet with someone who may be able to improve their choreography skills in their live concerts. know she's a cartoon character, but she is absolutely stunning.  She can really dance too.  Have a look!

The video for "When It's Only Me And The Music" is stunning.  Visually, it's near perfection.  And as far as the song itself goes, it once again proves that Jem and the Holograms' strength is with ballads.  Absolutely beautiful.  In fact, just as "Designing Woman" might be my favourite Misfits song, I think this one might be my favourite Jem song so far!

Once the song ends, and Jem and the others applaud the mysterious woman, the woman seems shocked and then flattered by the attention.  Video introduces the group to Giselle Dvorak.  But her stage name is...yep.  You guessed it.  Danse.  Oooh la la...she uses the French spelling too!

Turns out that this wonderful dancer with the multi-coloured hair also has a huge heart as well.  When she's not working as a dancer on rock videos and stage productions, she works at a place called Haven House - the location where they are now.  Haven House is a place where teenagers who have run away from home go to stay.  The space is limited and there aren't enough beds for everyone, but they do the best they can with the resources they have. 

The reason why Danse wanted to meet with Jem and the Holograms is because she needs their help.  Haven House is putting on a benefit at Stouffer Stadium where all proceeds will go towards the house, and Danse thinks that if Jem performs at the benefit concert, it would be a big help.  Jem, of course, doesn't hesitate in saying yes.

Back home, Jem and Rio are discussing the plans for the benefit concert, and Rio is thinking of trying something new with the lighting on stage, but Jem makes the mistake of telling Rio that they've got it covered - not realizing that Rio doesn't know about Synergy.  Actually, there's not much Rio knows.

All Rio knows is that he's upset that Jem seems to think that someone else is better than him, and this leads to a small fight between the two of them.  And of course, Deirdre picks the worst time to try and show Jem how to play guitar because Jem snaps at her and brushes her off again, causing Deirdre to cry.

We see Deirdre shredding all of the posters on her wall, and crying about how much she hates everyone, and how she is going to run away from home to get away from everyone.  Ba Nee thinks it to be a fun adventure, and decides she wants to run away too.  Yeah, never mind the fact that Jerrica tortured herself making a movie to pay for an operation that ALLOWED YOU TO SEE!!!  That's gratitude for you!

Krissie attempts to make Deirdre see the error in her ways, but Deirdre insists on taking off.  Krissie, unable to change her mind, agrees to go with her - but before they leave, Krissie leaves a note for Jerrica explaining the situation.  At least ONE of the three are thinking sensibly.  But when Deirdre announces that they'll be going to hide out at the Misfits, I shake my head.  Did Ashley not tell you ANYTHING about what happened to her when she ran away?  I mean, you might be able to get in good with Stormer, but Pizzazz and Roxy?  Yeesh...

And there's also a scene that seems tacked on where a man throws his son out of the house and orders him not to come back ever again.  I don't know why they do this...I mean, what are the odds of this having anything to do with the storyline?

Completely oblivious to what is going on - as usual - Lindsey is meeting with Jem and Danse to discuss the benefit concert for Haven House.  Apparently, it's being held on August 3, 1986 - which seems like an eternity ago, doesn't it?  But it's nice of Lindsey to agree to promote the cause on her show.

But no episode would be an episode without conflict.  And this conflict is a huge one.  The night of the Haven House benefit is the same night as the Music Awards.  And as Lindsey explains to Jem, skipping out on the Music Awards could mean career suicide.  Unfortunately, Jem seems to agree with Lindsey, and breaks Danse's heart by telling her they can't make the benefit.  Danse takes the news with disappointment, but handles it really well.  A lot better than I would handle it.

Seriously, can't go back on a commitment you made to Danse just to puff up your ego and win an award!  Who do you think you are?   Pizzazz?  This is why Jem/Jerrica aggravates me sometimes.

Speaking of Pizzazz, Deirdre, Krissie, and Ba Nee arrive at Misfits Music, and Stormer immediately recognizes them as Starlight Girls.  Deirdre explains the situation, and while Stormer is assigned to watch them, Pizzazz and Roxy make a phone call.

The phone call they make is to a child protective services officer named Jack Sobieski.  The fact that Pizzazz of all people is reporting a crime against child welfare is hysterical comedy in itself.  But unfortunately, Pizzazz's call to CPS does make Mr. Sobieski very suspicious, and he vows to take the matter seriously.  Seems to me like Jerrica is about to receive a cosmic bitchslap any time now.

Sure enough, Jerrica's finally ready to hear Deirdre's song - only to see the bedroom floor covered with bits and pieces of Jem posters.  If this weren't a cartoon, that would be very creepy.  Ashley runs in with the note that Krissie left behind explaining that they ran away from Starlight Mansion, and before you know it, Jerrica is swallowing a huge slice of humble pie.  I hope it tastes really bitter, Jerrica.  Believe me, you kind of deserve it.

Back at Pizzazz's mansion, would you believe that the Misfits are making Deirdre, Ba Nee, and Krissie do chores?  They thought that by running away from Starlight Mansion that they'd never do chores again!  Silly kids!  But Pizzazz does tell them that because of their work, they have earned free tickets to their concert that night...which Deirdre sees as justification for running away.

Meanwhile, everyone at Starlight House is going all over the city trying to find the missing girls.  They check the video arcade, the local diner, and even a bus depot.  Still no luck.

At this point, Jerrica realizes that she's made a terrible mistake - well, actually she's made terrible mistakes.  As in plural.  But that's all semantics now, and she now has to do what is right.

The first thing she does is make things right with Danse, and they tell her that no award is worth having the wonderful opportunity to play a charity gig, and Danse happily accepts their recommitment to the cause.  But when Danse asks what changed their mind, the Holograms are a little too chatty and tell her everything that happened with Deirdre, Krissie, and Ba Nee, which I find to be a bit much considering that they only met yesterday.  Why Danse could be an undercover cop and all four of them would be thrown in jail!  Whatever the case, Jem believes that if the girls see them perform at the benefit concert, it will make them come back home.

Outside of the arena where the Misfits are performing, we see a scalper trying to sell Misfits tickets for outrageous prices.  Well, okay, maybe fifty bucks doesn't sound like a lot now, but it was worth a small fortune in 1986.  I'd have to lose 50 baby teeth to make that much back then!  That kid that was thrown out of his home earlier in the episode crashes into the scalper, and he swipes one of the concert tickets, angering the scalper.  But before he can get his hands on the kid, the kid enters the concert hall, and the scalper threatens to deal with him later. 

And Krissie and Ba Nee are starting to get angry with Deirdre, and try to convince her that staying with the Misfits is not a good idea, but Deirdre refuses to listen to reason until after the concert.  They have a hard time seeing the show, so Deirdre spots a nearby antenna, and the three girls decide to climb up on it to get a better view as the Misfits start their set.

I have to say, "I Am A Giant" is a kick-ass song with a creative video.  I think this may be the only video in the Jem series that has actually utilized black and white so far.  It's very stunning, and Pizzazz as an Amazon woman would be one scary sight!

Krissie on the other hand is scared of heights, and she realizes that she wants to climb down.  But she loses her footing and falls off the antenna with Deirdre screaming in horror!

But we don't get to see Krissie go kersplut on the ground, as the TO BE CONTINUED graphic gets superimposed over her look of pure horror.  We'll have to wait until next week to see what happens next.  And believe me, I'll have plenty of opinions in that show too.

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